Thirteen-year-old Tim scanned his weekly quiz in Earth Science and read: "Where did the earth come from?" Without thinking, he scribbled: "God created it." The next day, his test came back with a big red check mark and 20 points chopped off his grade. The expected answer was the Big Bang.
When Tim's mother told the members of her Bible-study group, where my wife, Patty, attends, they were indignant. Go show that teacher what the Bible says, they urged. It's right there in Genesis: God created the heaven and the earth.
But when I heard the story, I startled Tim's mother by calling her up: Don't charge into class, Bible in hand, I warned. To the teacher, that's religion; his class is on science. Instead, ask him scientific questions: How did the Big Bang itself get started? Something can't come out of nothing, so what caused the Big Bang?
For centuries, conventional scientific wisdom taught that the universe was eternal. But Big Bang theory has given dramatic evidence that the universe had a beginning—just as Scripture teaches. And if the Big Bang is the origin of the universe, its cause must be something beyond the universe, a transcendent cause.
These exciting philosophical questions are being debated by astronomers today. So why shouldn't students learn them, too? Christians ought to argue for more academic freedom, not less. We should challenge bad science with better science.
Whenever I make this point publicly, I can count on a deluge of letters from Christians asking, "What's wrong with quoting the Bible?" A radio station once threatened to take my radio program BreakPoint off the air. "It's heresy to tell believers not to cite their Bibles," the station manager fumed.
But this reaction reflects a confusion widespread ...